The legal battle between the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mrs Charlotte Osei, and Mr Maxwell Opoku-Agyemang, a lawyer representing some petitioners who want the impeachment of the EC boss, has taken a new dimension.
Mr Opoku-Agyemang has initiated a legal action at the Accra High Court seeking to stop Mrs Osei’s lawyer, Mr Thaddeus Sory, from representing the EC chairperson in a defamation case.
On July 25, 2017, Mrs Osei sued Mr Opoku-Agyemang for defamation and professional misconduct in the court.
That was after the leakage of a 27-page petition to the Presidency calling for her impeachment, said to be from some workers of the EC represented by Mr Opoku-Agyemang.
Conflict of interest
However, Mr Opoku-Agyemang’s legal team has filed an application seeking an order from the court to restrain Mr Sory and his law firm, Sory @ Law, from representing Mrs Osei in the matter.
It also wants the court to dismiss the writ filed by Mr Sory on behalf of Mrs Osei in the defamation case.
Lawyer for Mr Opoku-Agyemang, Mr Julius Opoku Adjei, told the court that Mr Sory must not be allowed to represent the EC boss in the defamation case because of conflict of interest.
The defamation case, he said, was borne out of the petition seeking to impeach Mrs Osei as such Mr Sory, who is also the lawyer for the EC, could not represent the EC boss.
Counsel argued that the petitioners, in seeking the impeachment of Mrs Osei, were fighting in the interest of the EC and, therefore, Mr Sory could not protect the interest of the EC by representing its boss.
He further contended that the manner in which the EC engaged the services of Mr Sory and his law firm was also a part of the subject matter of the petition.
“Mr Sory cannot conduct this case without compromising himself, Mrs Osei and the EC,” Mr Adjei said.
In his response, Mr Sory described the application as “incompetent” on both procedural grounds and on its merit.
On procedural grounds, he argued that Mr Opoku-Agyemang failed to disclose any rule of court that covered the reliefs he was seeking.
“He has failed to disclose one rule that when a lawyer is in conflict of interest, you can bring an application to restrain him or her,” he said.
On the application’s merit, he contended that there was no issue of conflict of interest because the substantive defamation case was between Mrs Osei as plaintiff and Mr Opoku-Agyemang as defendant.
“Although Mr Thaddeus Sory and [email protected] represent the EC, they do not owe the commission any duty in this matter because the plaintiff or the defendant in the suit is not the commission,” he stressed.
The court, presided over by Mr Justice Kweku T. Ackaah-Boafo, will give a ruling on the application on Thursday, November 2, 2017.